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Posts Tagged ‘IFIC 2012’

Finally uploading the link to my IFIC Poster  – things have been a bit hectic since my last post, and whilst things are still very much ‘potentially interesting’ they are also very much intense!  Here I’ve split the week up into 3 chunks, the Successes, the Highs and the Lows (not too gloomy though!)….and then finish on my lingering issue of Where Next…..

Successes

This week I completed the final interview sessions for Study 1/2 – whilst it is tempting to continue collecting data along these themes, as it is enjoyable meeting new members of staff and discussing Hand Hygiene experiences and views on what could be done differently, the key (or one of them!) to successful qualitative research lies in knowing when to stop.  The legendary ‘Saturation Point’, whereby no new themes emerge from the data, is hard to categorically locate – there is always the fear that the next interview may provide something different…but you have to use your instinct, and also respect the time and resources available.

So after 6 months of data collection, using a mixture of deductive and inductive analysis, I am now confident that I can defend the process used to explore the phenomenon, and also the decision to stop at this stage.  Whilst every individual has unique experiences to share, due to differences in perceptions, memories and the very nature of life opportunities, the general themes now emerging are beginning to converge.  Thus I used the final group interview session to clarify issues I was still partially unclear on, and also to confirm some general themes that had emerged so far.  I now look forward to analysing the whole data set using the coding matrix established previously, and seeing the themes that fully emerge….

Highs

 This week I also had fun with a supplementary activity – comparing the emergent themes from my research with those which were raised during a live TwitterChat hosted by @WeNurses (see here for article). It was really interesting and encouraging to see so many other Healthcare Professionals raise the same themes as we have found at our case study site – issues such as the impact of Role Models, Habitual Hand Hygiene and the Challenges of Compliance.  It shows that the research is both relevant, and necessary!

Lows – but not all negative

This week I also said a sad goodbye to my Academic Supervisor, who has left WMG and Warwick to take up a new post as Leadership
Chair in eHealth Research at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (University of Leeds).  I have so much to thank Jeremy for, as even though I have only worked with him for 18 months, he has been instrumental in moulding my research into the project it is today, and helping me build both my skills and confidence as an early career researcher.  He has also shown a genuine interest in the topic area, despite it not being directly linked to any current research he is involved in, and thus it has taken additional time and resource for him to work on my PhD project – a fact he has never once complained about.  I cannot thank him enough for all his help and encouragement, and am delighted that we will be keeping in close contact as we both face our new future challenges.

It’s not all sad though – at our last meeting I was able to share with Jeremy my ideas for future research, and things looked good – I am very enthusiastic about his feedback and own enthusiasm.  The ‘Where Next’ question looms larger by the day then – questions such as ‘Is anyone else researching Hand Hygiene?‘, ‘Where?’, ‘In what context?‘…..

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Feet up day!

Completed Run Liverpool yesterday – my first Marathon (not yet committed to saying my ‘only’ Marathon…..), to complete an amazing 3 weeks of firsts; first ‘away’ conference (IPS 2012) and first International conference (IFIC 2012).  Throw in first solo journey on a plane, first visit to London Heathrow and first flight at all since 2003, and it’s fair to say it has been quite a monumental time for me…!

So now, I am having a quiet day, nursing a few sore patches from yesterday, and following up a whole host of leads and notes from my time away.  First was to update my Twitter to include new people to follow based on people I met, people I have been made aware of – and now it is time to send out copies of my Poster to people who have emailed requests, as even though I took folders full of hand-outs, they still ran out. Good times!

Later I’ll upload the poster here, and upload some photos from Zagreb – but as that involves moving to get some cables, I think I’ll have to wait a little while.  An ice pack is currently delicately balanced……

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Today was my first day attending sessions at IFIC 2012 – yesterday being spent registering, having a tour of Zagreb, and attending the Opening Ceremony and welcome reception.

There is far too much to cover right now (and my scrawl may take a while to decipher) but it is immediately clear that attending this Conference has been hugely important for my research – both in terms of content, and also in terms of the potential sources of support, inspiration and future direction.  I have written lots of ‘notes for home’, which will help me remember all the thoughts buzzing through my mind, and hopefully help me turn them into actions over the next few months.

Today I concentrated on Hand Hygiene ( surprise!), but through a wider lens than I perhaps would usually focus – thus the sessions covered work on an international scene, in environments outside the acute setting, and often in settings with dramatically fewer resources than I am used to interacting with.  However, a strong theme of the importance of Hand Hygiene was never far from the surface, alongside a continual mention/nod towards the WHO 5 Moments – an ever-increasing integral part of my thesis.

I will cover more on the sessions when I get back to the UK; just to note that I had a great moment of excitement this afternoon when I got to attend a session featuring two highly prominent figures in the field – Benedetta Allegranzi and Sally Bloomfield.  There is a moment when you (I….?!) have to fight hard not to revert to an awe-struck teenager….  Tomorrow I’m going to have to do the same; as it’s the turn of the UK IPS representatives to present, and as their work is about Audit and Surveillance, they are something of a big deal for me…!

Today was also the day of attending my Poster; a great opportunity to speak with people interested/intrigued by the Poster presented, a chance to elaborate, debate and defend the ideas I’m working on.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, there was much more discussion than I expected, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of positive and interested comments I received, and it was especially interesting to hear stories and experiences from all around the World; some very familiar, and some so very different. Lovely to see that the WHO 5 Moments were recognised by everyone though, regardless of background.

Now I need to continue to look towards the future though; this experience is definitely helping me formulate further the research I want to carry out, but I still need the guidance and support of those in the field to clarify, mould, direct and confirm that the plans are in the right vein; it is essential that we build upon the foundation already established, thus I want to make sure that any research I go on to do in a Post-Doc capacity is what is needed, wanted and welcomed…..

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  So, now I have had time to let my thoughts settle/ferment since I returned from IPS 2012 I can write a little update about how I got on, and try and give a flavour of just how inspiring the whole event was. 

Yes, inspiring. Having thought long and hard, I think that is the best word to use as an overall theme.  Having been through a difficult few months with the PhD with various set-backs, not to mention the episode of quarantine immediately prior to the conference, it is fair to say I was a somewhat jaded character on the train north to Liverpool. Not so on the train home! I was brimming with new ideas, running thoughts over in my head, and with a bag full of notebooks, hand-outs and, naturally, hand-gel samples….

So what inspired me?  The answer is probably best split into 2 categories – my fellow delegates and the information presented.  

Fellow Delegates

The former was a great comfort, and a timely reminder that Infection Control is an area where people are hugely motivated towards moving forwards, and that to do so they understand that team work, multi-disciplinary collaboration and mutual support are crucial elements for success.  Having travelled to the conference alone it was a joy to meet with new people, to share stories, receive feedback on my work, and generally feel welcome in a room full of strangers. I was particularly made to feel welcome by some wonderful ladies from Bournemouth NHS Trust, Plymouth NHS Trust, St John’s Ambulance Head Office, and a Private healthcare provider in Sussex. It was also a perfect co-incidence to bump into one of my host ICT attending a fellow delegate – I was proud to see them there, knowing how hard they work helped me really relate the formal presentations to real-life, and it was great to debrief after a few of these sessions; relating them directly to ‘our’ NHS Acute trust.  A perfect balance of theory, experience and practice.

Information Presented

The formal presentations then, to sum up, were varied yet all thought-provoking.  Because of my focus on Hand Hygiene and Research I tended to attend sessions focused around these – although the session aimed at those new to Infection Control was a lovely way to start the Conference experience, really helped me feel less alienated as a ‘solo’ attendee.  It felt like there was a great emphasis in all of the sessions (I attended) to encourage empowerment in the delegates, to encourage the belief that change was possible, and that it could come from anyone, regardless of position, background or experience. I found that inspiring, as often it can feel like only ‘top’ people can make a difference – both in the academic and medical sectors; I’ve heard this a lot from those I’ve met during my studies, as well as from within my academic circle.  Great examples from Professor Judith Tanner helped illustrate how crucial research has often been born from the ideas of those on the ‘front-line’, continually perplexed or frustrated by a problem, and who took the step beyond fire-fighting to look for a more long-term solution.

Fire-fighting vs. long-term solutions

This was such a key theme in my decision to undertake a PhD; I felt it deserved a quick mention. Having worked in the private sector for 6 years, I had a great team there which was focused on this very topic, looking for, and implementing, long-term solutions rather than continually reverting to emergency work-arounds to get through a deadline; and repeating this again and again.  Doing a PhD allows an in-depth review of a particular issue or problem (for me, Hand Hygiene Auditing), using rigorous methodology, to produce a ‘unique contribution to knowledge’.  In this way it is hoped that the field moves forwards, and that others can benefit from another building block; rather than continually being stuck in a loop of emergency ‘make-do’s’.  

What the IPS Conference did was remind me of this initial excitement, the fact that so many people are stuck doing ‘work arounds’, and yet through rigorous research there is the potential to improve the situation in Infection Control; and for me, Hand Hygiene Auditing.

 Ending on a high

This idea, of being able to make a long-term difference, was firmly cemented during my final session at IPS – “Set me free – letting go of hand hygiene” presented by Julie Storr, (the new IPS President, WHO Consultant, Imperial College London) and Claire Kilpatrick (Consultant, World Health Oganisation Patient Safety).

An amazing presentation (you always know it’s going to a bit different, when the lights go down and Coldplay fills the speakers….), featuring an interview style debate on the future of Hand Hygiene.  Too much to jot down here (and I’m sure there would be some rules about plagiarism….), but the 5 ‘things to take away’, as outlined by Claire, were summarised a bit like this:

 Key points:

  1. Hand Hygiene should be part of the natural workflow, embedded in daily tasks
  2. Hand Hygiene interventions should be multipronged
  3. We should all look for ‘one key step for tomorrow’ to improve Hand Hygiene where we are
  4. Hand Hygiene is not that simple (but is should be….?)
  5. We need to understand the complexities (to get back to the simple side….)

An interesting point mentioned was that we may be living under an illusion of a ‘Perception of Success’; infection rates have gone down, we have been used to hearing about Hand Hygiene campaigns, we have seen an increase in AHR use, and AHR dispensers seem abundant – but have we really moved forwards in helping people understand why Hand Hygiene is important? Do we believe it is too simple?  Jules had a great slide, demonstrating the journey from simple, through complex, back to simple – using a myriad of disciplines to navigate the complex stage; including psychology, neuroscience and ergonomics.  Thus, we need to move away from the belief that “It’s easy, everyone can wash their hands’, through to understanding why and how we can enable Hand Hygiene at the right moments, to a point where it really is easy for people to act appropriately and perform Hand Hygiene correctly.  Seriously, the slide explains this so much better….!

Finally, and of real interest to me, someone asked a question about the relevance of ‘Electronic Monitoring’ – a key theme of my research.  A stand in the exhibition (see image, right) was causing great interest; having a badge system that had the ability to track (some) Healthcare worker Hand Hygiene compliance within a set zone – still in a prototype stage, but worthy of investigation.  Issues such as price were definitely high on the agenda for delegates, and for me, issue relating to accuracy of data and, critically the relevance to the 5 Moments….  I was delighted to hear this was something that WHO was already taking active steps towards ensuring.

What I’ve taken away, and what next….

 Now my thoughts have settled, and I have almost finished deciphering my handwritten scrawl, I think my main output from the Conference is twofold.

Firstly, I am confident that the work I have been doing is worthwhile, that Hand Hygiene is still a crucial nut yet to be ‘cracked’ fully, and that the methods to complete this process is still hotly debated.

Secondly, though, I am confused, verging on worried. Where do I go from here?  I was really intrigued by the presentation by Julie and Claire, the concept of Simple/Complex/Simple, the involvement of Neuroscience, Psychology and Ergonomics (to name but a few elements), and the emerging field of electronic monitoring – but I feel I need further guidance as to where to apply my energies next.  My PhD is very ‘open’ at the moment, I feel it could still go in a number of directions, which is exciting, yet I need to start pulling it down, ready to write up into one cohesive ‘story’.  But I do not want it to be the only story. It doesn’t end at submission…!  So, I am now off to IFIC 2012 (Twelfth Congress of the International Federation of Infection Control) and what I’d really like to come away with is a clearer idea of how I could plan my Post-Doc future…..  Time will tell…..

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